“A steep and rocky but popular way to access Mount Sanitas.
— Megan W
Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This trail is steep and can be treacherous to run either as a ascent or descent. The trail squeezes between 2-3 enormous boulders and passing other users can be tricky. Trees shade a section of trail near the top and snow takes a long time to melt here.
From the summit of Mount Sanitas, gingerly pick your way down large rock steps alternately heading east and south. This topmost section of trail is the steepest, so take your time and remember to give way to panting uphill users. Views east are great if you can take your eyes away from watching your footing.
The East Ridge Trail
does indeed travel down the east spine of Mount Sanitas and its surface is rocky, rooty and uneven. Early on, the trail turns north and passes down through a shady wooded gully. In the winter this area holds snow for a long time, so savvy people slip on yaktrax to negotiate this short, steep section.
About mid-way down, keep an eye out for small green signs attached to logs that point the way through two areas with huge boulders. It is easy to lose the hidden trail here and some timid users may may prefer to scootch a couple of feet down rocks on their bum! Don't be put off by the idea of this, it is very doable.
Once the trail leaves the ridgeline, the switchbacks lengthen and the gradient mellows considerably. Views open up of the Sanitas Valley Trail
below, with Bear Peak
and the Flatirons becoming visible to the south. The East Ridge Trail
ends at a junction with the choice to head north through neighborhoods to Linden Drive or join the Sanitas Valley Trail
to return to the Centennial trailhead.
Flora & Fauna
Note that mountain lions and bears pass through this area and although rangers do their best to put up warning signs about recent activity, dawn and dusk are the times to be most aware.